Book Review of The Dead Gentleman

The Dead Gentleman by Matthew Cody
The Dead Gentleman by Matthew Cody

2013 Nutmeg Nominee author Matthew Cody has a brand new book on the shelves. One of the Kids Galley Bloggers decided to share their thoughts.

The Dead Gentleman is a great book. There are many things I like about this book. One is that the author always keeps you on the edge of your seat. There is a ton of action. the main characters are Tommy and Jezebel. Tommy is a 20th century homeless kid who gets involved in the secret explorers society. The explorers travel through portals to different worlds and times. Jezebel lives in the apartment complex that Tommy got trapped in a hundred years earlier. There she gets a message from Tommy. The message is: to beware of the dead gentleman. That is when the adventure starts for both Tommy and Jezebel. This book is very well written. Not too much action, but just enough to keep you reading.


Crow by Barbara Wright

Crow by Barbara Wright
Crow by Barbara Wright

The Darien Kid Bloggers bring you two new book reviews this month.

by Barbara Wright

This historical fiction book is about a boy named Moses around the year of 1900. His father works at the local newspaper company, and he makes a decent living. Moses is teaching his grandmother named Boo Nanny to read. She is also finally telling the stories of when she was a slave. African Americans are finally somewhat getting the respect and positions of power in Wilmington, North Carolina. But not everyone is happy with the situation. Some of them will do anything, including a violent plot, to maintain what they are comfortable with.

I, personally, like the style of Christopher Paul Curtis better about the same topics. With grandma’s stories jumping back and forth, it is hard to keep track and easy to get confused for me. But I do think it is a good book and most kids will enjoy this story.


If you are interested in becoming a Darien Kid Blogger, email the Children's Library at for further details. Kid Bloggers are given ARCs (advanced reader's copies) of soon to be published books and asked to write a review for the Library's website.

Fantasy Friday: Breadcrumbs

Fantasy Friday (and new book alert!): Breadcrumbs  by Anne Ursu.

"It snowed right before Jack stopped talking to Hazel, fluffy white flakes big enough to show their crystal architecture, like perfect geometric poems. It was the sort of snow that transforms the world into a different kind of place. You know what it's like - when you wake up  to find everything white and soft and quiet, when you run outisde and your breath suddenly appears before you in a smoky poof, when  you wonder for a moment if the world in which you woke up is nt the same one that you went to bed in the night before. Things like that happen, at least in the stories you read. It was the sort of snowfall that, if there were any magic to be had in the world, would make it come out. And magic did come out."

Unfortunately, the magic that comes out of that wonderful, marvelous, story book snow is evil magic- in the form of The Snow Queen. She spirits Jack away from Hazel and everyone he knows into a deep, dark forest. And even though Jack has stopped talking to Hazel, she is still his best friend. Best friends save each other, no matter what.

This marvelous, magical retelling of Hans Christian Anderson's The Snow Queen is a must-read for anyone who loves a heroic, epic adventure, dazzling fantasy worlds, and a character who's learning what it means to grow up.

Fantasy Friday: Dealing With Dragons

Fantasy Friday: Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

Princess Cimorene is bored. Unlike her perfect, preening princess sisters, she couldn't care less about dancing, protocol, or embroidery. She's bored silly by lessons on the correct volume a proper princess should scream when being carried off by an ogre. According to her parents, it's not proper for a princess to take cooking lessons from the castle cook, fencing lessons from the general of the army, magic lessons from the court magician, or Latin lessons from the royal librarian. The only thing Cimorene can do is sit and wait for the day of her arranged marriage to a handsome, boring, silly Prince Charming. And practice a princess-like scream for when those ogres come.

Then Cimorene gets a brilliant idea. If she runs away and becomes a dragon's princess, she won't have to dance, learn manners, or embroider ever again. Any dragon would be happy to have her. She wasn't snatched out of her castle like the normal dragon's princess. She actually wants to be there, and the dragon won't have to fight a knight to keep her or chase her if she runs away. Plus, she knows how to make delicious cherries jubilee.

Thrills, chills, witches, adventures with fire-proofing spells, evil wizards, and hypersensitive dragons abound in this hysterically funny story of a princes who isn't ready to wait for happily ever after.


Book Review: City of Wind by Pierdomenico Baccalario

Introducing kid's reviews of upcoming book titles! The Darien Kid Bloggers have read ARCs (advanced reader's copies) of soon to be published books. You can place a hold on the books in the Library's catalog, and be one of the first kids to get that book. Here is our first installment.

City of Wind by Pierdomenico Baccalario

Translated by: Leah D. Janecko

The book City of Wind is a wonderful book with many twists and turns. This book is the third book in the Century Quartet series. The book takes place in Paris, “the windy city” (City of Wind). In the book the main characters are Harvey, Sheng, Mistral, and Elettra. Each main character comes from a different city and country.

  • Harvey, New York City U.S.

  • Sheng, Shanghai China

  • Mistral, Paris France

  • Elettra, Rome Italy

All the characters go to Paris for different reasons and they end up in a big treasure hunt for clues that leads to an unknown treasure. While this is happening they have to battle against an evil organization for the clues. Also they have to keep the organization from stealing the clues that the group already has. There are two parts that the book could be improved upon. One is that the plot is hard to follow. Also the book has a very abrupt ending that is hard to understand. Those are the key points in the book City of Wind.


Speak Out Against Bullying

The Stamford Advocate has launched a project, Speak Out Against Bullying, to raise awareness about kids and teens who are bullied in school and to help erase the stigma associated with those who have been bullied.  Two teens shared their stories in the video below, and The Advocate is encouraging other kids and teens to add their voices and experiences to the conversation.  More videos, in addition to articles, will be coming out on this very important topic. 

If you would like to contribute your story, please e-mail your video to or visit the Speak Out Against Bullying Facebook page.

For more information about bullying, and a booklist, take a look at our post on Dealing with Bullies




True Small-Moment Stories from Holmes School

Stories come from all sorts of interesting places.  Sometimes we find great stories within the pages of a book at the Library.  Other times we may hear a terrific tale from a grandparent or teacher.  Sometimes, we create our very own! 

The collected anthology below contains real life stories written by the fifth graders at Holmes Elementary who participated in the Writing Workshop.  Each writer began by creating a writer's notebook and selecting two original stories as seed ideas.  Then they each chose two drafts to revise, edit, and ultimately, publish. 

The Darien Library is proud to host these wonderful original works for the entire community to enjoy.  Click the page below to open. 


Meet the Children's Librarian: Miss Claire

Welcome to the first installment of a series introducing the talented people who work in the Children's Library!  This week we're proud to present...Miss Claire!

Claire is a native of Baltimore and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York (did you know three of the Children's Librarians live in New York City?).  She started working at Darien Library as the Children's Library intern in 2008, and became a full-time librarian in 2009. She is usually mustache-less.


Five Things About Miss Claire

Her favorite food is sushi.

Her hobbies include cooking, traveling, and a brief flirtation with knitting

Her favorite book genre is historical fiction.

When she was a kid, Claire wanted to be a supermodel-detective or Jane Goodall.

Right now, she is reading a grown-up book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, and a kids book, Small Acts of Amazing Courage by Gloria Whelan.

Two Things You Didn't Know About Miss Claire

She can touch her tongue to her nose!

She is an only child.

iKids Create Self-Portraits

The iKids have been busy honing their tech skills in this weekly registered class. For every first session our techy tweens make avatars for their very own Darien Library accounts. Check out these kid-friendly websites where you can design an avatar.

Build Your Wild Self 

Mii Creator


On ArtisanCam kids can explore the work of contemporary artist Julian Opie. Once the portrait is created it can be included in the online gallery.  

The Case for Cursive

This week a new mom in town pulled out the book Muggie Maggie by Beverly Cleary and was flipping through the pages with her toddler. It turns out that the illustrator, Kay Life, chose this mom as the inspiration for her portraits of the fictional Maggie. The artist followed the child to and from school each day to truly depict the life of a third grader. It's amazing what you discover in the Children's Library!

In the book, the character Maggie is frustrated that her third grade class is beginning to learn how to write in cursive. Maggie simply cannot understand why she needs to practice her penmanship

A recent topic in the news, the relevance of penmanship in today's classroom is a hot topic. Some feel that certain forms of communication are becoming obsolete, such as letter writing and in some cases email!  Read this recent USA Today article on cursive in the classroom.

For other school dramas and classroom antics, check out these selections.